24 October 2015

brigadoon motive

the june after i'd turned eight in march, my parents packed me off to summercamp for a month. i remember being delighted - it was something i'd been anticipating for at least two years.

i know it sounds uppercrust and pretentious to go to summercamp for a month, and it's true that many of my fellow campers were right up there in the sugary-floury environs of the pie top. as for me, despite my father's belief that we also were atop the pie, our nobility had decayed, leaving us with more manner than means. i joined the uppercrusters at summercamp because my grandmother went as well and managed the kitchen.

there are a thousand things i could tell you about camp or about my grandmother, but today i'm going to focus on this one: eight year olds don't generally take to going away from home for a month. furthermore, despite my being less than two hours from home, my parents didn't return to camp for visitors' day, didn't return at all until the month was up.

i remember standing in the camp's dirt road with my mother and father and grandmother. one of them asked me, do you want to stay another month? i remember answering immediately - not a hint of hesitation - yes. "are you sure?" "yes." and they left and i stayed.

i stayed two months that year and every year after that until i was 20 and my father said it was time to stop being a camp counselor and get a real job, and i went to work in a fast food restaurant. just like that, i quit going.

i can't explain why, at eight years old, i left home with no objection and willingly stayed gone for eight weeks. i can't tell you why, at 20, i quit going away with no more objection than when i started.

the human mind is a fascinating place. the assumption is that memories -- where we went, what we did, how we felt about it -- are stored securely and cataloged accurately. if i remember it, it must be that way... right? in reality, the facts are all skewed, coloured by our then-feelings and our now-feelings, or then-circumstance and our now-circumstance. not to mention all the alterations, the nips and tucks we've made to our memories through the years.

identity is complicated, but a large part of who we think we are is drawn from a compilation of memories. this is why discovering that something in our past didn't go the way we remembered -- having our memory challenged by another's memory, or a newspaper article, or (perhaps most shockingly) our own words in a diary -- is so disconcerting. it's not only about the place and time and action. it's not even primarily because of how we felt about it. it's because we've built our identity on the past, and if the past shifts, what are we to do with our identity?

i've always thought of myself as independent, self-sufficient, a bit of a loner. a portion of this view of myself is built on that eight year old me, tromping off to summercamp for eight whole weeks, head held high, shedding nary a tear for home.

i know the basics of the memories are solid because witness accounts agree, but what if i have the memories right and the motives wrong? what if it wasn't about the "going to" -- what if it was about the "going away"?

what if i am not a brave adventurer, but instead, i am a cowardly runner?

what then?

10 October 2015

running an errand

i got up early to fix his breakfast before golf, and when he left at 7, i was reading my book. i thought, i'll just close my eyes for a second and woke up two hours later. two hours. gah. i had breakfast, including two cups of coffee and just like that, boom, asleep on the couch.

it left me feeling weird, out of sorts.

i get up and pad into the kitchen, rummage up a bowl of cereal, sit at the kitchen table to eat and read. and read. and read. gah. i am stuck here, and still feeling at odds with life. i know i should get off my ass and do the filing, but damn, it's such a big pile now. i can't face it. obviously, it will only grow larger. bah.


i call the service center to check on the car, and it's ready. well, hey now. that's interesting. i can wait for him to get home later and we can go get the car, or i can go get it myself now. but how will i get there, since my car IS there?

i think you know.

i quickly change into my jog togs. this is going to be GREAT. i'll need money, license, uh... phone, chapstick? i find a jacket. (why do i have three jacket choices?? why do i have so much shit????) and load up the pockets, adding pepper spray so i can report in that i had carried it, and also keys because what if they lost the one we left there, and a grocery list because hey, let's do that as well. like i said, this is going to GREAT.

i tie the loaded jacket around my waist and take some practice jogs around the driveway. shifty and rattly and incredibly jog tog amateur, but hell, i'm not proud. as soon as the garmin locks in, away i go. clink clank clink clank. i sound like the tin man. ha. whatever. i'm not proud.

the miles melt away. the weather is a bit breezy but otherwise ideal - sunny, cool. i mapped the route as 4 miles, so i added a bit to get 5, and guess what, i ended up with 6. haha. ransom the car, hit the grocery, back home.

it was a great run, just like i thought it would be. perfect weather, perfect wardrobe. my new shoes are wonderful and albuterol is magic fairy dust. but here's the biggest reason it was a great run -- i was going somewhere.

these days, if you tell someone you are jogging to the service center to get the car, they will look at you like you are crazy. why would you do that?? people just don't consider self-propulsion a realistic transportation option.

well, people around here at least. i know there are millions of people in the world for whom walking is THE transportation option. i'm not that callous.

but back to me.

even in cities where walking makes sense, people don't expect you to walk. like, i will always choose to walk in NYC - if the neighborhood is conducive. most neighborhoods are much more conducive to walking than you'd think, but people can't believe you wouldn't get in a subway to go three blocks. well, firstly, walking is free. so there's that. secondly, walking is the bomb.

so, here i am at home and i need to be at the service center, and why not go there on foot? makes perfect sense. i can't drive two cars, so why show up with one?

running is generally so pointless. i mean, sure, you can be training for a marathon or trying to lose weight but come on. think about it - if the point of your running is more running, that's not a point. a point is like, to get somewhere or accomplish something. running? it's pointless. vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

running to the service center, though, that has a point. that's a thing. i am doing an actual thing that i need to do and the fact that running is my modus transportati is a throwaway side-fact. "i got the car." "oh, great. how'd you get there?" "i ran." "ah."

it's just so cool to be like: okay, i need to get the car and get groceries. based on my current options, what's the best way to go about this? better get the car first so that i have a way to get the groceries home. i could take the bike, but not sure what shape it's in. guess i'll just jog over there.

i don't know. maybe you won't understand. but to me, that's the coolest thing ever.

05 October 2015

on bean watch

every day i think i'll write something here and then every day i cop out. why? who the hell knows. let's go with i am a lazy ass.

when i was a kid, we had some mexican jumping beans. where did they come from? who the hell knows. better question: how did they work? again, who the hell knows. supposably they have worms in them but i don't know. i'm not buying it. actually, i didn't buy the beans... i was a kid! but seriously. worm? not so much. am i right? had to be, like, a spring or something. surely. surely, shirley.

so. mexican jumping beans. not to be confused with magic beans. we all know the story, right? jack and the beanstalk and whatnot. (okay, no "whatnot" but it felt rhythmically appropriate so i did it. locum meum, praecepta mea.) jack and that dratted beanstalk have come into my life twice in the past few months. not mere mentions, but actual experiencements.

first, i saw the play "into the woods" which features li'l jack and his rascally beans. then, i checked out a random audiobook which used a marionette show of jack & the beanstalk as a plot device. the way jayne entwhistle says galligantus is sweet and soft on the ears like caramel on the tongue. ahh.

what is the deal with jack, his beanstalk, and me? can i expect a third experience to complete the set? i am on the lookout - on bean watch, as it were.

03 October 2015

book 2015

two for the show [janet evanovich]
speaking in bones [kathy reichs]
brutal youth [anthony breznican]
one of our thursday's is missing [jasper fforde]
invasion of the tearling [erika johansen]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
darke [angie sage]
fyre [angie sage]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]

speaking from among the bones [alan bradley]
the weed that strings the hangman's bag [alan bradley]
tragedy paper [elizabeth laban]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
harry potter and the sorcerer's stone [jk rowling]
amber spyglass [philip pullman]
subtle knife [philip pullman]
golden compass [philip pullman]
hunger games [suzanne collins]